Petrodollars to reach Iran via South Korean, Swiss and Japanese banks

28 January 2014 21:01 (UTC+04:00)

By Sara Rajabova

South Korean, Swiss, and Japanese banks specified by the Western countries will transfer Iran's petrodollars to the country.

The news was announced by Iranian deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi on January 28.

The transfers will be carried out as part of the nuclear deal that Iran reached with P5+1 on November 24, 2013, Mehr news agency reported.

Under the agreement, six major powers agreed to give Iran access to $4.2 billion in revenues blocked overseas if it carries out the deal which offers sanctions relief in exchange for steps to curb the Iranian nuclear program.

Araqchi went on to say that the Central Bank of Iran should cooperate with the specified foreign banks to transfer the released assets to the country.

Some $4.2 billion of Iran's oil revenues will be released and directly transferred to Iran in euro, he said, adding that eight countries will release Iran's assets.

Araqchi said the assets will be returned to Iran in six $550 million and two $450 million installments.

He said the first installment will be paid on February 1, adding that $1.550 billion will be paid to Iran till March 6.

On January 20, Iran suspended 20-percent uranium enrichment as part of its nuclear deal inked with the six powers in Geneva on November 24, 2013. Iran also started the process of diluting and oxidizing its 196-kg stockpile of 20-percent enriched uranium.

In exchange, the U.S. and the EU eased some of the sanctions against Iran.

The next steps will be discussed in future.

After the Geneva deal between Iran and world powers, some foreign companies voiced their intention to return to Iran and didn't rule out investments there.

The director of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran has said a French investment delegation will visit the country in the near future.

Reports say the delegation includes the representative of 110 French corporations.

Referring to the effects of the implementation of the interim nuclear deal, Valiollah Afkhami-Rad said the interest of foreign merchants and businessmen in Iran has increased.

The news about the French team's potential visit came as French automakers PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault are reportedly planning to return to Iran's market following the nuclear deal.

On the other hand, a senior U.S. official has warned companies and investors against entering the Iranian market, because "a significant portion of sanctions" against Iran remain in place.

"Iran is not open for business... Businesses interested in engaging in Iran really should hold off. The day may come when Iran is open for business, but the day is not today," U.S. Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence David Cohen said in Ankara.

He added that many sanctions against Iran, including those affecting the country's shipping, energy, and banking sectors, are still in place.

Cohen's comments come a few days after U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew urged companies to "proceed with caution" in their transactions with Iran, and threatened to punish companies that cross what he called red lines and become involved in activities that violate the sanctions.

Some Western countries suspect Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons - a charge Iran has rejected.

Denying the allegations, Iran has said that it does not seek to develop nuclear weapons and is using nuclear energy for medical researches instead.